The Materials Research Society (MRS) has named Seth R. Marder, professor and Georgia Power Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, to receive the Mid-Career Researcher Award "for establishing fundamental relationships between the chemical structure of organic molecules and their optical and electronic properties, thereby profoundly impacting how the scientific community designs optimized molecular structures for use in nonlinear optical applications." Marder will be recognized on April 8, 2015, during the Awards Ceremony at the 2015 MRS Spring Meeting in San Francisco.
Marder’s work on the nonlinear polarizabilities and nonlinear absorptive properties of organic materials has had a profound effect on how the chemistry and physics communities think about the molecular basis for nonlinear optical responses, and also on how chemists go about designing optimized structures for nonlinear optical applications. Prior to Marder’s work, the search for nonlinear optical chromophores was largely empirical and guided by simplistic concepts, for example, π-systems need to be substituted with strong donors and acceptors for second-order responses, and long conjugated π-systems are needed for third-order responses. Marder pioneered the use of organometallic compounds for nonlinear optical applications. Later, he applied physical organic methodologies to gain an understanding of how to optimize molecular structures for achieving large second-order nonlinear optical responses. He realized that within a simple valence bond approach, it could be useful to map the dependencies of nonlinear polarizabilities as a function of ground-state polarization. Marder refined and expanded these concepts and championed the use of bond length alternation in polymethine dyes as a useful metric to correlate the degree of charge separation in its ground state with its linear and nonlinear polarizabilities.
Marder received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has 23 issued patents, of which 11 are licensed and nine were jointly developed with companies. He has published more than 375 peer-reviewed papers. Other honors include the Materials Awards from the Georgia Tech Research Corporation for Excellence in Research, American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar, and the Outstanding Award in Research Program Development from Georgia Institute of Technology. Marder is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Optical Society of America, Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the American Physical Society.